50+ Ways to Check If a Website is Legit or Fake in 2022
Last Updated on 27th November 2022 by Ajmer Singh
The internet is filled with fake websites, that are set up to steal your money or personal information.
There are several ways to figure out if a website is legit or fake.
50+ Ways: How to check website is legit or fake in 2022
1. Look for the secure symbol ( https:// )
When you visit a webpage, look for the “lock” icon in your internet browser’s URL bar – it will either be at the top of your screen or on the left side.
This symbol means that this is a secured webpage and the information you’re sending is encrypted.
Websites that have a secure logo mean they are safe to use.
2. Check the web address in the site’s search bar
The website’s URL or web address should always be visible in its search bar, if not then that could indicate the website may be fake.
It probably won’t take you anywhere legitimate if there is no search function on their page.
3. Look for general signs of trustworthiness
This can also apply to individual pages of the website – if one page looks fishy, then they all probably are.
4. Check for valid contact information
Look at your address bar on the browser to find out what information you can about the company hosting the website.
If it does not have a phone number listed or an address, do not trust it.
Also, try to find out who is behind the site – look under About Us or Contact Us.
5. Look for too good to be true offers/prices
If you were looking for a new pair of shoes and came across a pair that cost only $10, would you think they’re legit?
They could be but they also might be fake! You should always check prices on websites like Amazon, Walmart, etc.
You can also look at reviews/ratings on the website to see if other people have gotten scammed.
6. Do your homework by checking reviews online
You can check reviews online using websites like Yelp, Google Reviews, BBB (Better Business Bureau), local news sites or even Facebook.
Check the reviews for any mention of scams or stolen credit card numbers!
If there are several bad reviews warning about scams, then you should probably stay away from that website.
7. Watch out for phishing sites
Gaming and adult websites are often targeted by hackers to steal users’ personal information.
These sites will ask you to sign up so they can “verify” your age/email address/credit card number which can lead to stolen identity or credit card theft.
Websites that require you to give personal information should be avoided completely.
You can research whether a website is real or fake by searching their website name on Google and reading reviews of other users if possible.
8. Look for physical signs of difference
Things like watermarks, missing “powered by” text on the bottom right corner of a webpage, different background images/colours or lack of spelling errors can all indicate a hacked website.
This is also true for websites that have been influenced by political views.
If you see anything different from the usual design theme on a page, stay away!
If one page looks dodgy, then they are probably all dodgy.
Check the related links/the footer of a website for other websites that you don’t trust – if there is a list of 5-10+ unrelated sites, stay away!
10. Look for SSL certificates
Your browser’s address bar can also show information on the security of the site you’re on.
Look for “https” before the URL to see if it has an SSL certificate or not (SSL stands for secure sockets layer).
If your browser says something like “This connection is not secure, there might be a man in the middle attack”
Then it means that your current webpage doesn’t have an SSL certification and could potentially be unsafe.
11. Use Internet Archive instead of relying on cached pages
If you want to check whether a webpage has been altered or hacked, then look for the Internet Archive ( Wayback Machine ) instead of the cached version of that page.
The Internet Archive is an online service/program that “provides access to collections of digital materials”.
Basically, it’s an archive site where all old versions of websites are stored before they get updated or changed.
If there are different versions recorded by the Internet Archive (i.e.: one without the text in certain areas), chances are something fishy happened with the website!
12. Don’t fall for fake coupons!
Some websites will also trick you into thinking that they can offer great deals & coupons.
Some even claim to be able to help you increase your credit score or get you a loan if you provide them with some personal information.
Be warned that these are all scams to steal your identity, don’t fall for them!
13. Delete any items in the download folder
If you’re worried about downloading software (e.g.: Adobe Photoshop), be aware that hackers can leave “viruses” or “malware” embedded into the programs,
that will infect your computer and give the hacker access to the files on your PC.
To avoid this, delete any suspicious-looking files from your download folder before running the.
Change the extension from .exe to something like .bat instead of .exe so they won’t automatically run when you double click/open them.
If a file is .exe, then it might be malware!
Some links may direct you to a different website other than what you’re expecting.
For example, if someone posts a link to www.apple.com, but when you click on the link it directs you to a page with ads or something else.
This means that there is probably some advertisement software embedded into the webpage to get money from advertisers/ad revenue or even malware so stay away.
You can check online for reviews of websites before visiting them if you have any doubt about their security.
Also, avoid “mirror” sites!
Any site claiming/advertising itself as an exact replica of another website should definitely be avoided!
15. Use free websites instead of buying software
Free antivirus, malware/spyware & firewall programs are out there if you don’t feel like spending your money.
For example, Avast is completely free and provides great security with virus scans daily to check for anything suspicious on your computer.
Do note that these free/open-source programs usually have fewer features compared to the ones you have to pay for but I would say it’s better than nothing.
Just uninstall or disable any software that seems sketchy or comes from an unknown developer!
As a tip, the more features provided means it has more access to your data so avoid those.
Also, watch what you download…some “warez” sites provide cracks/keygens for software but might also include malware!
16. Don’t download pirated material or torrents
Pirating copyrighted material (e.g.: movies, music) is illegal.
You could end up getting sued if someone finds out you’ve downloaded it and wants to take action!
Torrents are the “easier” way to download files off the internet…but using them can be dangerous since they’re not guaranteed to be safe.
And there’s a chance that other people online will be able to access your computer while downloads are happening.
Some websites may also say that torrents allow you to download faster.
But many pirate sites don’t actually work properly at all.
Save yourself some time and avoid downloading these at all costs!
17. Don’t access your bank account or any sensitive information on free public wifi!
Using free public wifi is great to get online for free…but these open connections are not secure at all.
Hackers can easily intercept data like usernames & passwords, credit card details and other sensitive information that you enter into websites while using public wifi.
That makes it easier to steal your identity or cause problems for you- avoid doing this at all costs if you want to stay safe (or use a VPN)!
18. Enable Two-Factor Authentication where possible
Two-factor authentication allows users to log in with two types of verification instead of just one.
So even if someone guesses your password, they should also have the code sent to their phone via text/email in order to log in!
These make it harder for hackers to gain access to your account and might be a life-saver if someday you’re targeted by someone malicious.
19. Don’t use unsecured public wifi connections
Using unsecured connections (e.g.: those that ask you “agree” before starting up) can leave you vulnerable.
Since these connections may not have the necessary security measures needed, they could allow others online to see what websites you visit.
Or even redirect you elsewhere without your permission so avoid these at all costs if the connection asks for “access rights”!
Free public wifi should definitely be avoided without a VPN- even if the connection is password protected.
Sake sure you know who manages the password and what type of security they have in place.
20. Look for https instead of http
In order to provide secure connections, websites should use an “s” at the end of their address (e.g.: https://www.facebook.com/).
This means that all data transmitted will be encrypted.
Which makes it harder for hackers to intercept anything being sent back & forth…but might not be totally reliable yet though!
If are unsure about whether or not the website uses SSL encryption, you can check by simply adding an “s” at the end of the web address (e.g.: https://www.google.com/).
21. Check the URL bar
Be sure not to automatically trust websites that you come across!
If you’re unsure about a website, check their web address (e.g.: https://www.facebook.com/) and look at the URL bar of your browser.
If it’s green & shows the name of the site (e.g.: “Facebook”), then it should be safe.
If something is off like
It might be a fake!
Cookies are small files websites store on your computer that let them recognize you as a returning visitor.
But unfortunately, these can also allow hackers to gain access to data or tools they wouldn’t normally have access to otherwise.
Deleting all cookies from your browser will help you avoid this risk and might even speed up how quickly your favourite websites load up if you’re visiting them often!
Keep in mind though: deleting all cookies means you’ll lose login information for sites like Facebook so be ready to set those up again if needed:
23. Check privacy policies/terms & conditions before signing up for anything online…
This will let you know what data is being collected and how it’s used (e.g.: for analytics purposes).
It can also list who might get access to your data (e.g.: advertising networks, marketing companies & law enforcement).
If there are sensitive things like your political or religious beliefs, sexual orientation or other personal information mentioned, think twice about sharing that with them!!
If you’re sent an email out of the blue (password resets/confirmations etc), be wary of some links inside!
Hackers could easily change a bit in a link so that anything you click on could lead you to something else unsafe (e.g.: google.com becomes hxxp://google.com/login).
Always copy and paste from those links into a new browser window or switch over to your email app before clicking on anything!
25. Check the site’s WHOIS information
A website’s WHOIS is actually a record of its owner which can be found by simply googling it.
If you’re sent a link for any website, look up their WHOIS info first & see if there are some red flags raised.
Like: no contact information available, the use of proxy services or suspicious registrations
(e.g.: anonymous speech does not remove personal data).
If so, this might be a fake…
If a company has multiple social media accounts (e.g.: Facebook/Twitter), see if they match the information on their website.
If one is missing or filled with spam & ads, it might be fake!
As we mentioned previously, you can also double check by simply searching up their web address and seeing what’s listed in their name e.g.: @facebook instead of facebook.com.
27. Check where the company is located or registered
If you’re not sure whether or not a website is legit, check who owns it!
This information can be found on WHOIS websites.
If there’s no country listed, this might be sketchy so always look up their services on the official websites for more details.
If it redirects you to something else though, it might be fake…
28. See what people are saying online about them!
Always search around Google and Reddit for reviews/complaints about companies before deciding to sign up for anything.
You’d be surprised how many things turn up even big named brands that aren’t all they claim to be!
29. Check if they have a contact us page
If a company posts their official email or phone number on their website, it’s usually pretty safe to assume that it’s legit.
However, if you can’t find anything about contacting them, this might be a bad sign.
Oftentimes scammers will remove all signs of how users can get in touch since they want to keep everything anonymous.
If there are no ways to communicate with customer service either though, definitely stay away…
30. See what comments they’ve got online!
Not only search for reviews & complaints but also check through the comments below those articles for any further details others might have.
If most people are concerned about one thing in particular though, this might be a warning sign.
31. If it seems too good to be true…
If anyone is offering you any amazing deals or promising anything that sounds waaaaayyy too good to be true – it probably is!
This technique works best if someone is offering something really big & flashy e.g.: being an exclusive partner for their new service launch etc…
These are the ones more likely to scam you as they have nothing to lose and everything to gain from fooling people into thinking they’re legit.
32. Check which countries they operate in!
If a company doesn’t list on their WHOIS information where they are located or where their business is registered- this might be a risk of being scammed!
This is especially true if you’re dealing with any exchanges or a marketplace where you can buy things.
That’s because they’ll have to follow the rules and regulations of their country of origin too.
33. See how professional & secure their website looks!
There are many websites online which have been specifically made to look like actual companies.
So always check around for anything suspicious about companies before trusting them with your money!
Also though, even the most legit looking sites sometimes end up scamming people by getting hacked.
Some common signs that a company’s website has been compromised include spelling/grammatical errors, random images/videos, broken links and even malware or viruses.
34. See what exchanges they’re on!
If you’re concerned about a company (not exchange) and want to double-check if it’s legit or not- see if they can be found on any exchanges.
This is probably one of the easiest ways to find out without too much hassle.
However, note that just because a company is listed there doesn’t mean it’s safe…
Remember: only trust the names you know and do your own research before signing up for anything.
35. Look at how many people work there!
Although this might sometimes get complicated to find out online.
Since businesses might list their team members in different places like LinkedIn or employee pages or about us etc…
But, doing your research properly can help you find out everything you might need to know.
36. Try to find out who owns the company!
If a company has no information on their website about who owns them or where they’re registered at- this is another warning sign of being scammed.
Since it’s one of the most basic pieces of information required by law!
To get more insight on this though, always remember to do your own research before trusting anything else.
37. Check what their contact email is!
Once again, if there are no ways to contact someone directly from their website- it’s almost certain that something fishy is going on.
Sometimes companies even go as far as blocking customer service emails and phone numbers from ever showing up on their websites.
Which is a huge red flag of something very wrong!
38. Beware of made-up reviews!
Most of the time, legit companies will have some sort of feedback & reviews section where you can find out more about them through other people’s experiences.
Always check through these carefully before trusting anything that seems unrealistic.
If most comments seem to be fake then it probably means that the whole thing has been faked too.
39. Make sure they’re not anonymous!
When checking out some company information online, always make sure they list who owns/runs things and what the team looks like.
There shouldn’t be anything fishy or hard to find here- if there is- it might mean they’re hiding something.
If you can’t find any information about who’s running the show – avoid them immediately!
40. Be wary of new companies!
If a company just started operating recently (like, no more than 1-2 years ago).
Then be extra careful because there are higher chances that it could be a scam or anything else dodgy.
Always check everything yourself before trusting anyone online ever.
41. See what their website domain is called exactly!
Sometimes scammers will use pretty much identical domains to real ones e.g.: paypa1 instead of Paypal, Bitcointein instead of Bitcoin etc…
So make sure you double-check which one it really is before trusting anything by looking at the whole URL.
42. Don’t ever give them any personal details!
Legit companies usually won’t ask for your personal information.
So if you see any of them asking for stuff like that then they’re probably scammers trying to steal someone’s identity (or money).
Always remember that no one will ever contact you directly asking for these things, only trust reputed banks/companies/websites.
43. Be on the lookout for fake claims!
If it sounds too good to be true- then it probably is.
Unfortunately, there are tons of scams out there- especially with all these new ICOs popping up everywhere…
So make sure not to fall for anything promising an unrealistic amount of money or saying it can double itself in a short amount of time.
44. Check how new the website is!
This is one of the easiest ways to check if a company/website has been around for long enough and even though there are new websites that might be legit.
Most scammers just set up their websites and start scamming everyone they can as soon as possible before getting caught.
So always look at when they started operating!
45. Think twice before sharing!
If you get any sort of email/message asking to share something.
Just remember that spam is everywhere and no one should ever be asking for your personal information,
or putting your account at risk by sending anything.
46. Watch out for wordings & imagery!
A lot of scams will use wording and pictures using popular websites/brands in order to look more trustworthy.
So always check if the website has its own content and visuals, don’t trust anything written anywhere otherwise.
47. You should always check the company location!
Always make sure you know where the people behind a business are located.
A good way of checking this is by asking yourself these questions: Where is their main office?
Where did they list headquarters? Where are they listed on the stock exchange? If they’re not in any of these- then chances are, it’s fake.
48. Be careful with phone calls!
A real company won’t ever ask you for your personal information over the phone.
So don’t give it away if someone asks for anything like that through phone calls or emails.
49. Look for real customer reviews!
Legit companies don’t need customers to hire people trying to fool their customers e.g.: faking positive comments or paying for fake feedback.
So just look around you and see what other people are saying about the company before using them.
And if there aren’t any- it probably means they’re not legit!
50. Look out for free trials & money-back guarantees!
A good way of checking if a website is legit or scammy is by looking at how they operate.
Do they offer free trials? Money-back guarantees? How easy should it be to get your money back after buying something?
Where can you find this information? If you can’t find anything like- then move on, because they’re probably scammers!
Avoid the frustration and embarrassment of falling for a scam site by using these 50+ ways to check if a website is fake or legit.
There are many different types of scams, but some can be avoided with just a few key checks on your part before you make the decision to purchase from them.
We’ve compiled our favourite tips above and hope that they help you steer clear of any nasty surprises in the future.
Which methods have you personally used? Let me know in the comments section.
And if you want to start your own website then here is the guide to start properly step by step.
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